Am I being too sensitive?

May 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm (Random Thoughts) (, , , , , , , , , )

I read a wide variety of genre literature.  I understand that having a snappy name for a genre makes it easy to recommend a book to someone else, or quick classification, and things like that.  I have, however, decided that I hate the term “chick-lit”.   As defined by Wikipedia:

Chick lit is a term used to denote genre fiction within women’s fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single, working women in their twenties and thirties. The genre sells well, with chick lit titles topping bestseller lists and the creation of imprints devoted entirely to chick lit. It generally deals with the issues of modern women humorously and lightheartedly.[1]

Although usually including romantic elements, women’s fiction (including chick lit) is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because in women’s fiction the heroine’s relationship with her family or friends may be just as important as her relationship with the hero.[2]

There’s nothing wrong in this kind of fiction.  Sometimes I quite enjoy it.  These books are rarely going to become classics but they are amusing, entertaining, and often huge best-sellers.  I’ve just finished Too Good to be True by Sheila O’Flanagan.  This isn’t a masterpiece of modern literature by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a fun read.  An empowering theme, in that the protagonist learns to be true to herself as a whole person during her trials and tribulations.

My problem with the term is that it is so often used in a derogatory sense.  Like “Chick-lit” is some less worthwhile pastime.  “Oh, that book? It was okay, for chick-lit.”  That kind of stuff infuriates me.  Why is “Dick-lit” okay and “Chick-lit” bad?  (Dick-lit, or Lad-lit…best example?  Probably Fever Pitch or High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.  And I’ve really enjoyed anything of Hornby’s that I’ve read, so I’m not picking on him…)  Are people buying these books, reading, and enjoying them?  Then praise literacy and shut up with your judge-y talk. I support pretty much anything that gets people reading books.  If we re-read the definition, there’s a lot of books that are classics now that were teh chick-lit of their day.  Gone With the WindPride and Prejudice anyone?

BTW, I am perfectly aware that this a total contradiction, since much of the premise of this blog is my own judgement of the things that I am reading.


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